How Energy Efficient are Infrared Heaters?

How energy efficient are infrared heaters?

Do Infrared Heating Panels Save Money?

The question we are asked most often is always “Do Infrared Heating Panels save you money?”. Every home owner would like to save money on their heating, and we are always happy to report that in most cases, infrared heating can save you money. However, it is important to be realistic and to understand that they will not save money in every situation. First of all we need to consider how infrared heat works – infrared heating has been scientifically proven to be around 30% more efficient than convection based heating and up to 60% more efficient than underfloor heating.

If we consider total cost of a heating solution then we can see from the illustrative example below that the cost of running an infrared heating system when compared to a traditional convection based system is considerably lower and will produce savings year on year. Over a 10, 15 or 20 year period these savings are quite large.

It is also important to consider potential heat loss (see the infographic) within a commercial or domestic heating system. A convection based heating system relies generally on a boiler to heat water, which will then be pumped around a heating circuit. During this circuit, heat will be lost throughout. Radiators may be located a considerable distance from the boiler causing a number of inefficiencies. Heat will be lost simply due to the length of the circuit, also through the distribution pipework and finally the efficiency of the boiler. It has been estimated that a boiler degrades quite quickly. It is not uncommon to find a 5 year old boiler working at only 85% efficiency. Radiators can also get clogged with material and air. Due to this, a radiator will not heat efficiently.

By contrast, infrared heaters deliver heat at the point of energy consumption.  There are no distributed heat losses and they do not suffer the same loss of efficiency. In addition, no annual maintenance or servicing is required to keep the system operating at maximum efficiency.

When all of these elements are correctly considered and included in an operating cost calculation, good quality and well designed infrared heating panels will be the cheapest option to run. They also provide many benefits over conventional boiler run households.

Energy Efficient

Is infrared heat better than convection heat?

Thinking about the type of heat produced, convection heats from the ceiling down and can produce a stuffy and dusty atmosphere when the air throughout the space is up to temperature.

Infrared Heating Efficiency

There can also be other associated problems, such as condensation caused when warm air touches cold surfaces – the most obvious place to see this is in bathrooms as black spot mould. Then we have the heat loss experienced by convection heat in comparison to infrared heating panel heaters and solutions.

Finally, it is important to consider the flexibility of using the space we have in our homes or offices without being restricted by having radiators and heaters in the way. Infrared panel heaters free up wall space, can enhance the interior decoration and the flow of your living and working spaces.

Infrared heating panels running costs

When thinking about running costs of infrared heaters it is again important to consider the action of heat and the impact this has on specifying the wattage requirement to heat a space. The below chart is for an average 3 bed semi-detached house. The comparison is between a house heated with Infrared, in green, and a variety of heating sources, in red.

When specifying a convection based heating system for a well insulated space, the rule of thumb is to allow 55 – 65W per m3.

heating calculator example

When we want to heat the same space using infrared heating we can drop that wattage requirement down to 25 – 35W per m3. This figure drops to as low as 10W per m3 with a passivhaus. Why? Because of the action of heating that we spoke about earlier.

Overall, that potentially is a big saving. Consider also the heat losses and maintenance requirements associated with boiler based wet radiator heating systems. Infrared heater panels offer an efficient heating option using energy exactly where heat is required and not by inefficiently heating the air.

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